There are the graves of 13 airmen in our cemetery who made the supreme sacrifice and it is perhaps unusual that a village so closely associated with Hullavington Airfield which saw action in WWII did not have a War Memorial until recently. Church Warden, Nick Greene came to realise this and led a very successful campaign to raise funds to give the village a place of memory and this page brings the report of its unveiling and the memories of those who served.
On a bright Friday morning on the 9th November 2012 our beautiful new War Memorial was unveiled by our MP, James Gray and Derek Tilney of the Royal British Legion.This was followed by a Service of Remembrance where the children of Stanton St Quintin Primary School placed poppies mounted on crosses at the foot of each of our RAF war graves. James then placed a wreath for ‘Parliament and the Nation’ at the base of the Memorial whilst Derek added one for the Wiltshire County Executive of the Royal British Legion. Major Tim Parkes of 9 Theatre Logistics Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps added the final wreath on behalf of ‘The Officers, Soldiers and Families of Buckley Barracks’.
We have a moving ceremony at 11 o’clock on the 11th November each year when the children and teachers of the school meet along with 20 or more villagers at the War Memorial. So come and join us.
Forty Four villager fought in the first world war and of those 5 were never to return and 11 were wounded. You can read the list Here.
We have recently received a fascinating & poignant email from Tim Couzens whose great uncle Private, Arthur Thomas 6th Bn.The Wiltshire Regiment, was killed on active service during the first days of the Battle of the Somme:
I am very sorry that I did not see your request for information on the Stanton soldiers killed in WW1, when you inaugurated the new War Memorial in 2012. My great uncle, Private Arthur Thomas, from Lower Stanton, was one.
I attach a photo and the letter of notification of his death. He is also commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial at the Somme – for those with no known grave. (I have a photo of that somewhere, together with the date of death etc. from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, if anybody would like a copy). The Wiltshire Regiment were used as reinforcements and, from memory, I think he was killed about 7 or 10 days into the Somme offensive.
As the 100th anniversary approaches, I will look out the original letter, which my great grandmother had kept, together with his unopened campaign medal and envelope from the War Office – which I will photograph. I can give further, brief, biographical details, if that would also be of interest. Once I have all the information together I will post the photos and text on the various websites, set up for the purpose, this year.
Some years ago, my cousin was serving in the Royal Marines. Part of their induction included a visit to the first World War battlefields and Thiepval. She read the letter and everybody found it very moving, particularly as it refers to going over the top . . . . . . .
Best Regards, Tim Couzens, 8b, Burton Road, Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, KT2 5TF. Tel 0208 255 7339.
(or via Mr R W Couzens. 9 Draycot Cerne, Nr Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 5LD. 01249 750 649.)
We also know that during World War II both the sons of Basil & Maude Alers Hankey of Stanton Manor lost their lives. Who knows, had one or both survived we might not have The Stanton Manor Hotel today.
If any of you in the Village have any personal memories, or maybe stories from your Grandparents, that could help in this research we would love to hear from you. Even though the Memorial is now in place we would still be very interested in more details about those who made the supreme sacrifice.